In the week ending on February 14, 2020, no less than 40 land and water protectors we arrested in Canada, mostly indigenous people occupying the land that they have lived on for many hundreds of years. In the morning hours of Monday, February 10, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) raided a ceremony honoring missing and murdered indigenous women. More than 100 militarized police with machine guns and dogs were able to arrest several land protectors for simply occupying their own land, slated for crossing by a fossil fuel pipeline.Those arrested included the matriarchs of the Unist’ot’en clan, one of five clans that make up the Wet’suwet’en Nation, as well as several other tribal leaders. Indigenous and their allies have organized sit-ins, taking over government offices across Canada, not the least significant of which was that of Prime Minister Trudeau in Montreal.
There is no end in sight and the number of land and water protectors who find themselves jailed and in need of support is likely going to grow considerably. The more people are arrested, the safer all will be, as a result of exposure, press coverage, and the stature of legal defense buttressed by the weight of public opinion.